Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known to everyone (except his mother) as The Notorious B.I.G., would have been 43 years old today. In memory of that fact, and in celebration of his enduring legacy, we’re taking the opportunity to look over some of the best shoutouts he’s received from other emcees over the years.
Regarded by many as one of the greatest to ever hold a mic, with his name still on so many lips (18 years after his murder), perhaps he really did achieve “Life After Death” after all…
Jay Electronica – “Suckas”
Not only has the elusive rapper dedicated the track to Biggie – alongside Louis Farrakhan and his grandmother – which would have been tribute enough, but he cites diss track “Kick In The Door,” pulling the line “This goes out for all those who choose to use disrespectful views.”
Pusha T – “Exodus 23:1”
The Dream-produced “Exodus 23:1” parallels B.I.G’s “What’s Beef?” with lyrics focused on separating real thugs from the imitators. While The Dream pulled the (albeit slowed-down) violin riff from Biggie’s track, Pusha T lifts the line, “What’s beef/beef is when” directly from the man himself, along with his ridiculing laugh.
Freddie Gibbs – “Pronto”
Only recently released, “Pronto” is the title track from Freddie Gibbs’ latest EP – a record produced in direct homage to Biggie’s confessional “Nasty Boy.” B.I.G.’s original lyrics, “Took it to her condo, pronto / Half-Indian I called her Tonto” are mimicked almost word-for-word by Gibbs. Interestingly, the track also gives equal props to Biggie’s arch-rival 2Pac, with references such as, “thug life never died,” and “I’m a rider” thrown in for good measure.
Erykah Badu – “Fall In Love (Your Funeral)”
Not all Biggie’s fans were rappers and here neo-soul singer Erykah Badu shouts him out with style and sophistication – the only way she knows how. Referencing “Warning,” on “Fall In Love” Badu sings, “It’s gonna be some slow singing and flower bringing / If my burglar alarm starts ringing.”
Joey Bada$$ – “Belly Of The Beast”
New on the scene, Joey Bada$$ stakes his place among the mic-toting bigwigs by citing one of the finest. Taken off his debut album B4.DA.$$, “Belly Of the Beast” samples Biggie’s scheming “Gimme The Loot” with the line, “Big up, big up, it’s a stick up, stick up / and I’m shooting n*ggas quick if ya hiccup.”
Lil Kim – “Custom Made (Give It To You)”
Lil Kim’s “Custom Made (Give It To You)” samples killer house classic “French Kiss” by Lil Louis but she doesn’t leave it there. Instead, she picks up her ex-fiancé’s track “Gimme The Loot” and lifts the line, “Goodness gracious, the papers! / Where the cash at? Where the stash at? / N*gga pass that.”
Drake – “Worst Behavior”
Drake’s 2013 squad anthem “Worst Behavior” re-popularized a line that plenty of his fanbase probably weren’t familiar with, until now. Harking back to Bad Boy anthem “Mo Money Mo Problems,” a track which explores the anxiety of affluence (something close to Drake’s own heart) he shouts out Ma$e’s opening line “Who’s hot who’s not / Tell me who rock, who sell out in the stores?”
Tyler, The Creator feat. Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, Hodgy Beats & Mike G (Goblin) – “Window”
Although a leftfield choice, “Window” is perhaps one of the best looks at how hip-hop has evolved over the years, while the reference points have remained the same. Here, the Odd Future bunch appropriate one of Biggie’s most well-known lines, taken from “Juicy” and adapted to suit their needs. Just try not to cringe as Domo opens with, “It was all a dream / I used to read Complex magazines.”
For more Biggie content, check out the rapper’s 10 greatest fashion moments.